Just like Twilight is a vampire story for people who don't like vampire stories, The Host is a sci-fi novel for people who don't like sci-fi. Ultimately, this is a very human story about love, friendship, loyalty and family. It's moving and unique.
Truthfully, I wasn't expecting to like it much. I read the excerpt available on Stephenie's website a few months ago and wasn't overly impressed, but because it's SM and I'm a big fan of the Twilight series I decided to give it a shot. I'm so glad I did! I found the storyline compelling and fascinating from the outset - unlike other readers, I did not find the beginning slow at all (or any part). I thought the entire novel flowed very smoothly. I enjoy quieter moments in stories because those are often when you really get to know the characters and it makes the action sequences more meaningful. Once again, SM has created characters we can relate to and care about.
I've read some of the negative reviews and all I can say is that everyone has different taste. I didn't find this story lacking in any way - it's very different from Twilight but in my opinion just as good. In fact, thematically, I think it's better. We have a much stronger herione this time and get to explore a friendship between two women (Melanie/Wanderer). And while Wanderer is peaceful and self-sacrificing, no one could argue that she isn't a very strong herione who chooses to do things because they are right and ethical. For those who thought Bella was such a rotten roll model, Wanderer should make them happy. Even though this is considered an adult book, it's perfectly suitable for teens.
I'd say this is Stephenie in her best form. The entire novel from start to finish is well written, though provoking and weaves complex emotions into a fascinating storyline. She has proven herself to be an excellent storyteller (much like Wanderer). Bravo, SM!